Foxy Bedtime Tales
Part V


So where did we stop last? Oh yes, so Botan discovered that she was actually Koenma's niece and was taken away to Spirit World. And she wanted to know everything about her parents.

And Spirit World's Prince told her everything she had ever wanted to know or asked herself while growing up in Demon World. He told her about her mother, his sister, and how she was the most beautiful creature Spirit World had ever seen. Botan's father, a common but handsome spirit servant, had fallen madly in love with the princess; and she in turn had fallen madly in love with him. But King Enma-sama didn't approve of the match and had them separated by the heavens in Human World.

He put the princess on one side of the sky and put the servant on the other side, the two lovers far apart and alienated by the Milky Way. So King Enma-sama thought he had successfully estranged his daughter and her lover. Unfortunately, Human World suffered from the separation, and the humans and creatures living in Human World found a way to reunite the princess and servant together. In the end, King Enma had to agree on their union and finally relented. Therefore, the two lovers quickly married with a grand celebration.

That was how Botan's parents met, and they had a wonderful and happy marriage, one that went down in legends. In fact, their story is still told in Human World today, and they hold a festival every year on the day Botan's father and mother were reunited.

Due to his rising rank by marrying the princess, Botan's father ruled the skies in Human World, and King Enma wanted his precious daughter to visit him in Spirit World. Usually Botan's mother reserved visits for special occasions. So after Botan's birth, the Princess thought it was a good idea so that her father could meet his new granddaughter. But the king wouldn't invite Botan's father (still bitter about the servant "stealing away" his daughter), so Botan's father decided to stay in Human World and wait for his wife and child—and what was waiting a few days in comparison to the many months he had been separated from his wife?

After the visit, King Enma sent his daughter back on a grand caravan, filled with many gifts from him. The Princess only wanted a simple escort so she could quickly go directly to Human World, but her father wouldn't have it.

When she did not return nor send a message after some time, her husband demanded that King Enma-sama set his daughter free—she was already his wife. King Enma-sama then replied that he had sent his daughter back many weeks ago. That was when they realized the princess and her baby daughter had disappeared into the depths of Demon World. For years spirit warriors scoured through the treacherous world in search of their precious princess—but they only found the remains of the caravan and signs of death. The Princess and Botan's bodies couldn't be found. Everyone in Spirit World could have only assumed the worst.

Botan's father wasted away from grief and misery. To save his brother-in-law, Koenma put him in a long slumber and locked him away in a holy place in Human World. The prince hoped that he would be able to set his brother free if they ever found Botan because she still had a chance of being alive. Koenma had known instinctively that his sister would have saved her precious child at all costs.

So when Yusuke returned from a mission in Demon World one day and described Botan to Koenma, the Prince knew that he had finally found his niece. That brought them to that instant with her in Koenma's office after arriving at the Gate of Judgment two days prior.

Botan then told Koenma where Kurama and Kuronue had kindly buried her mother in Demon World and how all of her mother's valuables had been stored away for Botan's use in the future. When Kurama had told Kuronue to save everything years ago, the fox had meant them to be used by Botan when she was old enough. Yoh and Sakura had planned for Botan to use the gorgeous silks and jewels on the day she got married; but now that seemed pointless with her state in Spirit World.

You see children, in Spirit World Botan was given new clothes in the latest styles so that she would look like the princess she was. If Kurama and Kuronue saw her then, they would both agree that she looked like her mother. Since they couldn't, Botan settled with Koenma's assurance that she looked exactly like his sister but for her cute dimpled smile—that was her father's.

Despite her dressing like other spirits, Botan felt very out of place and became unhappy over the strangeness of that new environment. To stave her desires for Demon World and its familiar presence, she would sit in the palace gardens and take comfort amongst all the plants and flowers. And that's where the spirits would usually find her.

"Look, Ayame-san, she's in the garden, just like I told you," a little redhead spirit girl grinned while she skipped up to Botan. This girl was named Hinageshi, and as a spirit she was younger than Botan. Only recently had she been hired to work at the Gate of Judgment.

"Botan-san, you seem unhappy," the taller, dark-haired woman noticed with a little anxiety. "What's wrong?" This ferry girl was called Ayame, and she had been working as Koenma's personal aide for many, many years. In fact, she had known Botan's mother and had seen baby Botan the day she and her mother had visited Spirit World.

Botan turned and smiled at her new friends Ayame and Hinageshi. Because they were her uncle's aides, they immediately welcomed her upon sight and helped her adjust to Spirit World life. In fact, it was because of them that Botan did not die from loneliness or homesickness.

"You aren't feeling well again," Ayame whispered, answering the question for Botan. You could say that her many years at Koenma's service had made her quite observant. "You seem ill."

"I just miss my family and friends," Botan sighed a little tiredly. "Even though I'm from the Spirit World and was born a spirit, I've grown up in the Demon World all my life. This life is so different from what I'm used to. The energy and the atmosphere need a little getting used to. Spirit Energy is much more uplifting and lighter than Demon Energy—it can be difficult to handle if I grow too careless."

"I heard that you were close friends with Youko Kurama," Hinageshi muttered. She didn't want to be rude and pry too much into Botan's life in Demon World, but she was very curious. All throughout her life she had heard frightening tales about our world and she had been taught that only the worst characters came from Demon World. So she wondered how Botan grew up so sweet and beautiful being raised by demons.

"Yes, he is a very close friend of mine," Botan answered happily, which surprised the ferry girls.

"Oh, but he's on the Top Ten Most Wanted Demons list! He's a master thief, so great that he even stole from the great demon Raizen—not to mention all the people he's killed," Hinageshi gasped. "How can a gentle person like you know someone so dangerous, Botan-san?"

"Despite his reputation, Kurama-san is very gentle," Botan assured, a little bothered by the murderous side of Kurama's fame. Oh, she knew that her beloved rescuer had blood on his hands—that couldn't be helped if you were a demon bent on surviving in Demon World. But that did not lessen her opinion of him. "In fact, if it weren't for him, I wouldn't be alive now."

"Really?"

With a smile Botan told Hinageshi and Ayame the story Yoh and Sakura had told her many times throughout her childhood, how Kurama had saved her and brought her to them. The spirit girl explained how her mother had protected her with all that she had, including her life, and how Kurama had decided to save the baby's life. "Although," Botan laughed in recollection, "Kurama-san didn't initially want to take me in or so Kuro'nii-chan told me—"

"Who is 'Kuro'nii-chan'?"

Blinking, Botan said simply, "Kuronue."

Clapping both hands onto her cheeks, Hinageshi squealed in surprise. She demanded to know how Botan also knew the infamous bat demon Kuronue. To that, Botan easily replied that her "Kuro'nii-chan" had always taken care of her whenever Kurama couldn't. Ever since the two thieves had found her, they had agreed to be her protectors at all times.

"Kuro'nii-chan?! She's calling one of the most wanted criminals 'Kuro'nii-chan'?!" Hinageshi shrieked dramatically.

Ayame put a hand on the little redhead to calm her and then turned to Botan. "Please continue, Botan-san," she encouraged.

With that, Botan continued to tell them how Kurama hadn't really wanted to save her, but on a whim he had decided that he should and had given her to a Raccoon clan to be taken care of. She then told the spirits that the family Botan had been given to was very close with Kurama-san, and they had just lost a child of their own. She guessed that it was fortunate for her since they had immediately accepted her, and the rest of the Raccoon clan became her family as well.

"Wow," Hinageshi whistled at the end. "I didn't think demons could ever be so friendly."

"They are, Hinageshi-san. All of them were so kind to me," Botan sighed in memory. "In fact, I was going to be married to a demon."

"REALLY?"

"And who was this?" Ayame questioned a little more calmly than Hinageshi.

"I don't know," Botan laughed, sighing a bit. "I had two offers, actually. And now that I think about it, Otou-chan and Okaa-san were always discussing with me which one would be the better match even when I didn't know that I had two suitors. One was the Raccoon chief Kusa-sama and the other from…" Her voice trailed off then, her being a little embarrassed.

"From who?" Hinageshi pressed.

"From Kurama-san," Botan blushed, remembering Kurama's proposal and how she hadn't answer it. She fretted over her rudeness at not giving Kurama a sufficient answer, at least one that would buy her some more time to give him a definite response. Together Ayame and Hinageshi assured Botan that if she truly loved Kurama and he cared for her in kind, then he would wait to hear her response…But to marry a demon?

"Is there something wrong with that?" Botan inquired.

Ayame kindly explained that such a union wasn't very common, and it had usually been between a lower-class spirit and a demon. Never had anyone from noble status, not to mention a person of royal descent, fallen in love with someone from Demon World. It was most unusual to have King Enma-sama's granddaughter in love with an infamous criminal. Without a doubt, King Enma would fuss over Botan's choice for a lover more so than he had done with his own daughter. "But that's assuming if you've decided on Kurama."

"What about the possibility of a spirit husband?" Hinageshi asked. "I'm sure now that you're here, Koenma-sama and Enma-sama would arrange for you to marry a spirit. And who knows? Maybe you'll fall in love with someone here."

With a deep blush, Botan confessed that she had always been love with Kurama for as long as she could remember. Only recently had she realized her feelings for what they were, and she hoped that she could be with the fox demon forever. But she couldn't leave Spirit World without meeting her grandfather (who was gone on a business trip and wouldn't return anytime soon) and her father (who was being slowly awakened by Koenma at that moment). Afterwards, perhaps she would get the chance to be with the one she loved.

And as she waited for her father's awakening, a month passed with Botan remaining in Spirit World. Also as promised, Kurama began wreaking havoc upon Spirit World, stealing a number of precious items and harassing Spirit World employees whenever he could and doing whatever mischievous tricks his depraved imagination could concoct. Koenma tried to keep Kurama's crimes as quiet as possible, not wanting to arrest the fox when he knew how his niece felt about the bandit. However, the office was full of gossips, and eventually Kurama's misdeeds reached Botan's ears and she approached Koenma about the situation.

"I'm going to condemn his soul to Hell for all eternity," Koenma growled in frustration, glaring at the mountain of paperwork caused by Kurama. The prince continued rambling on and on about the different ways he would torture the fox's soul as payback for what Kurama was doing now. Ha, if you saw all the work the prince would have to process because of the sly fox, you would be upset too. Honestly, Botan told me that the paper stacks were taller than you—and there were at least four of them.

Anyway, when her uncle finished with his tirade, Botan announced calmly, "Koenma-sama, I don't belong here."

Already knowing the direction of the conversation, Koenma quickly put in, "But you don't belong there either. Look at yourself—you're far more powerful here than you were in Demon World! Your abilities have matured, and you're much more capable now that you've harnessed your Spirit Energy—your spirit needs to be here."

Botan motioned towards the paperwork caused by Kurama. "But Kurama-san is there, waiting for me."

"And what about your father?" Koenma demanded. "He's almost awake, and he'll want to see you when I tell him why I unsealed him."

At the mention of her father, the spirit princess bit her lip apprehensively. She truly did want to see her father; and she wanted to give him some comfort for his grief and loneliness. Wouldn't it be best if she showed him how her mother lived on in her, as Koenma had told her earlier? "You're all he has left, Botan," her uncle reminded, seeing her weakening resolve. "Without you, he's lost."

Dirty trick? You think he was pulling a dirty trick? Well, it might have been a small dirty trick, but you have to understand the prince's feelings. Without being able to say goodbye, his sister died and his baby niece disappeared. Now that he had finally found Botan after so many years, he probably wasn't very willing to let her go…and his brother-in-law, Botan's father, what about him? He probably wanted to see his precious only child.

Eh? You don't care? Okay, fine. Well, you're lucky that Botan's heart completely belonged to Kurama. She reasoned that her own father, more than anyone else, would understand her desire to be with the one she loved—I mean look at her parents' story—and she solidified her resolve in he heart. With determination in her amethyst eyes, she pleadingly said her uncle's name.

"All right, all right," Koenma surrendered with a heavy sigh. "I'll arrange for you to be sent back in two days. Ah, ah, don't argue. You're a princess, and I'm going to send you back with some suitable belongings…it's the least I can do until we see you again. Maybe that asshole will then leave me alone." Oh, he was talking about Kurama in that last comment.

So see? Prince Koenma wasn't terrible. Just as he promised, he only kept Botan as long as she wanted; and with ease he sent her back to her Raccoon family in Demon World. With the things Koenma sent with Botan, he gave Yoh and Sakura many gifts in gratitude for raising his niece into a proper and lovely lady. For Kurama and Kuronue, Botan's rescuers, he had a different kind of reward.

When the spirit girl returned to the village, she and Kurama went off to be alone and speak to one another. That and Koenma had wanted Botan to pass on a private message to the fox. "As one of the conditions for allowing me to come back, Koenma-sama is employing me to work for him. I'm working with Yusuke now. I'll be his assistant and I'll pass messages between Demon World and Spirit World—maybe sometimes even Human World," Botan explained happily. "That way I'll be able to stay with everyone here but still see people in Spirit World. It's a good thing that Yusuke works here, isn't it? I'm glad that we're friends and that I can be his partner.

A white ear twitched as a vein popped on Kurama's forehead. "His partner, huh?"

Not oblivious to Kurama's annoyance, Botan continued, "Well, Koenma-sama said that if you didn't want me working with Yusuke alone, then you could work with us." The funny look Kurama gave her clearly expressed his disbelief. "If you work as a Spirit Detective, Koenma-sama will absolve you of all your past crimes and clear your record—also if you don't commit any new ones against Spirit World."

"Oh really?" Kurama grinned.

"Mm-hm."

He grabbed Botan's arm and pulled her close to him. Staring at her intently, he inquired, "And what about my proposal? You never answered me about that, Botan."

"Well, if you're sure that someone like me is fine."

Oh, he was so happy with her answer that he kissed her right there. When they ran out of breath, Kurama told her in that foxy voice of his, "Silly girl—you were mine the moment I found you all those years ago."

So soon after, Kurama quit stealing Spirit World valuables and began working for Koenma-sama as a Spirit Detective. He eventually became good friends with Yusuke and sometime later met his other good friend Hiei-san. Yes, that's right, your Hiei'ji-chan. So while the fox went on adventures to save the Three Worlds, Kuronue went on to lead the band of thieves and continued doing what he had done before; well, he tried giving Kurama as little trouble as he could, but there were no promises.

Botan told Kusa-sama that she couldn't marry him. He took the news rather well—probably better than he would have originally taken it if Kuronue and Kurama hadn't been there to make sure the raccoon didn't cause any trouble. Obviously Yoh and Sakura were happy with the match, and Botan's friends wished her all the best.

Ah, but that's not how it ended.

Kurama and Botan couldn't get married until Botan's birth father woke up because she wanted his permission (knowing that he's alive and all). You can imagine how unhappy he was when he learned that his daughter, the one he thought he had lost all those years ago, was now grown up and asking to marry the moment he woke up from a long slumber. Her father didn't mind that Kurama was a demon—I mean look at his story of meeting his own wife—and he wanted his only child to be happy, so he gave them his blessing on the condition that Botan visit him every other day.

In regards to King Enma, Prince Koenma managed to appease him: mostly. When Botan's father heard King Enma fussing about Botan's choice for a husband, he told the old king to butt out and mind his own business. Enma had interfered enough with Botan's parents' romance; her father wouldn't allow her grandfather to ruin her love too. Well, that just sent King Enma into a fury and diverted his attention away from Botan and Kurama. Ha, to this day your great-grandfather and grandfather are feuding. Yes, that's why the skies of Demon World sound so often with thunder and have lightning crack across the sky. They're fighting between Human World and Spirit World, with Demon World in between.

Hm? Oh, what about me? Well, your Aunty Haruka here told Baika-kun that I was flattered for his offer, but I was already spoken for. Uh-huh, your Kuro'ji-chan married me in the end.

Anyway, Kurama and Botan finally married and settled happily near the Raccoon Village. And soon afterward, they had three children—yes, you three—and as we believe, they lived happily ever after. Now go to bed.